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  5. "It is hard to sing this song…

"It is hard to sing this song."


June 22, 2017


[deactivated user]


    The first theme to Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is indeed hard to sing, but still nice to listen to.


    That's my favorite OP !!!


    大変 is not acceptable?


    Yes - why is 大変 / たいへん wrong here?


    「大変」is used to mean that something is difficult in the sense of being grinding, boring, and generally I-don't-want-to-do-it. In this sense, 「大変」doesn't mean "hard to accomplish" as much as "hard to find the will to do" or as a way to show reluctance.

    On the other hand, 「難しい」means that something is truly unlikely to be do-able. 「難しい」does mean that something is difficult in itself.

    A 「大変」task is one like mopping the floor, whereas a「難しい」task is something like scoring a winning goal.

    Additionally, 「大変」can mean "hot" or "very."

    Japanese Stackexchange --> https://japanese.stackexchange.com/questions/60067/difference-between-大変たいへん-and-難しいむずかしい#60068


    大変 is accepted as of november 21


    の here serves the same purpose as こと; it turns the verb into a gerund (from "sing" to "singing"). は (wa) then serves as the usual topic marker particle: singing is the thing being talked about.


    The "official" translation is "It is hard to sing this song." Should that be "Singing this song is hard" then?


    Would 「この歌を歌いにくい」 mean the same?


    この歌は/が歌いにくいです。 is probably what you mean to say and the particle changes depending on what you intend to mean.


    「この歌は歌いにくいです。」happened to be exactly what I typed just a moment ago when answering this! ^^

    ...However, sadly it wasn't accepted. ^^;


    Already did. ^^


    Can someone explain this grammatical structure please?


    の lets you use a verb or a verbal phrase like この歌を歌う as a noun. The verb must be in the “dictionary” or plain form. Thus:

    この歌 = this song を (direct object marker) 歌う = sing (plain form)

    When you add の to a verb or verbal clause it's like saying “to sing” or “singing”: it works as a noun. So you can add particles like が/は to use it as the context or the subject of the whole sentence: (...の)は 大変です.


    The lack of kanji is killing me...


    Why are を and は not switched


    Because the を has to link the object この歌 (this song) to the verb 歌の (singing). Since 難しい is an adverb, according to the rules we learned, it wouldn't need to be linked to "singing" because only actions to the object should follow the を.


    ok - maybe I should have said adjective..


    Your explanation makes sense (and thanks, BTW). But it is sad to think that after all this time I still can't decide a lot of times which goes where. The old "speaking of xxx" doesn't seem to work here. "Speaking of this song, it is hard to sing." would seem to want the は after song. OTOH, "Speaking of singing, this song is hard." would put the は after 歌の, as you say. So I am thinking that the rule is to "put the は after something important, and hope for the best." {:>)


    “Speaking of (singing this song), it is hard”. “Singing” as the action “to sing”, not a continuous tense. の turned the whole phrase into a noun.

    • この歌: this song *この歌を歌: sing this song (uninflected)
    • この歌を歌うの: singing/to sing this song (noun-ified)

    Now it can be used as the topic of the sentence.


    Because “to sing this song” = この歌を 歌うの is the context to which は is applied, the thing that is difficult. “About singing this song, it is difficult”.


    No one has yet answered why this is は, rather than が.


    Some call が the “new information marker”. That is, if someone asked “What's giving you trouble?” and you wanted to specify that “singing this song” is hard, then maybe が would fit. Otherwise it's just the topic: “[about] singing this song, it's hard”.


    That use of が as "as for this one specifically" is definitely the core meaning.

    While I was digging, I found this example

    1.わたしはあるくのはいやです I hate to walk. - might prefer take a bus, taxi, or something.

    2.わたしはあるくのがいやです I hate to walk. - just don't want to 'walk’

    I had to think about why the example sentences were the same usage. The conclusion I came to was that the が example was best read like "considering this one specifically" here, and the は weaker.


    If I wanted to emphasize the sense of the second sentence I'd translate it as “it's walking that I hate”.

    Another example that I like is the difference between replying to “Where's John?” and “Who's outside?”.


    Is だ not allowed instead of です for politeness reasons?


    But "歌うの" is no longer a verb, and the only verb in the sentence is "です", so "This song is hard to sing"? Also, I think "This song" is the thing being talked about, rather than "singing". And "singing" is the thing that is "hard", (not "This song"), so they should be linked. But....


    As the sentence is written, the difficult thing is the singing, i.e. the whole phrase “singing this song”. That's the topic marked by は.

    Consider “singing is difficult” = 歌うのは 難しいです, then give 歌う a direct object.


    Also, this sentence could not possibly have any more kanji in it, surely?


    I assume you're responding to the the comment written over two years ago by Yuri.co? The Japanese translation text for this sentence was written completely in hiragana up until only a few months ago.

    When course contributors modify the text of the source language sentence of an exercise, the existing sentence discussion gets unlinked from the exercise and a fresh sentence discussion starts for it.

    When course contributors modify the text of the translation language sentence of an exercise, the existing sentence discussion just carries on with the updated translation text replacing the previous translation text.

    "It is hard to sing this song."
    (The current sentence discussion.)



    You can still find the old sentence discussion where the Japanese sentence formerly had been written all in hiragana. You can see from the date of the post and the dates of the comments roughly when the sentence text modification occured. The English sentence text has never been changed since the course was created, so there are no older discussions for it. ^^


    It is hard to say this sentence!


    I've read the lesson tips and the comments about using の with the plain verb form to refer to the activity, but am still not quite getting it. If someone could kindly point me to a good resource on how to use "plain verb+の", I would very much appreciate it!

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